Friday, September 30, 2011


As one stands on the higher ground to gaze out upon the land, it's easy to see why General Omar Torrijos fell in love with Coclesito. The views are, indeed, stunningly beautiful. I share these photographs as a companion piece to An Encounter with Omar's Spirit.

La Granja Alternativa, the experimental farm we were there to visit, felt at times like a shrine to Omar. This portrait of the General (please excuse the glare) shows him in his classic pose--relaxing in a rocking chair, smoking a cigar, and passionately discussing life. The owner of the farm is Humberto Lopez Tirone, who has served as Panama's ambassador to Portugal and then Spain. He is a devoted admirer of Torrijos and a loyal keeper of the flame of his legacy. He is fascinating to talk to and a wealth of information about General Omar Torrijos's life and character.

The home Omar built for himself is, by far, the most luxurious building in the entire area. Today it's a museum that's lovingly maintained by community members. Sadly, on the day of our visit it was closed. This, however, gives me a strong reason for a return trip.

The General had a helipad constructed directly in front of his home. He could land here at his convenience.

And everywhere one goes, wherever one walks, one finds evidence that Coclesito is, and shall always remain, Omar's town.